The start of each new school year is a chaotic time for families with children. Whether they ride a bus, walk, ride a bike, or drive themselves to school, the first few weeks of school are the most dangerous as everyone figures out schedules, routes, and drop-off points. According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, more children are hit by cars near a school than anywhere else. Be aware of the risks to your children and your teen drivers as they figure out their back-to-school routines.
Parent Drivers Need to Follow the Rules
If you drive your child to school, it is important to follow the drop-off rules the school has established, no matter how long it takes or how inconvenient it is for you. If you have to get to work after dropping your kids off, be sure to allow plenty of time in the morning to drop them off properly and safely. As most people wait until the last minute, you’ll find the drop-off line is longest the closer you get to the start of school. Always follow these rules as well:
- Don’t double park. When you park next to another parked car, you block visibility for other cars and pedestrians. If there is not a parking space near the school, park further away or wait in a safe area until one opens up.
- Don’t park across the street. Never drop off or pick up children across the street from the school. Having them dart across a busy street to get into the building is very dangerous.
- Carpool. The fewer cars there are dropping off and picking up children at school, the safer it is for everyone. Reduce congestion by organizing a carpool and then insist that the carpool driver follow the school’s drop-off rules.
- Never pass a school bus. Obey the stop sign and flashing lights of a school bus and never pass when it is loading or unloading kids.
- Stop at crosswalks. Children walking to school have been taught that crosswalks are safe places and they may not be alert to approaching cars. Always come to a complete stop at a crosswalk near a school and allow children to pass before proceeding.
It is important that you set a good example for your children by following the rules for getting them to school safely.
Teen Drivers Need Safety Reminders, Too
You are not out of the woods just because your child is in high school and is driving him or herself to school. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), half of all teens will be involved in a crash before graduating from high school. Teen crashes spike in September, especially around school start and end times. As teens rush to get to school on time, they are much more likely to be involved in an accident. Remind your teens of these safe driving tips before they head off to their junior or senior year:
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to school. If your teen cuts it close with his morning routine, he will be joining dozens of other late drivers rushing to get to school—a recipe for disaster. Too early is better than late—or really late because you’ve been in a crash.
- Only drive one or two passengers. A single passenger increases the risk of a crash by 44 percent, according to the NSC. While carpooling helps the environment and reduces congestion, make sure your teen never drives more than one or two passengers and they are kids who will remain calm in the car.
- Leave the cell phone in the backpack. Distracted driving is the number-one cause of crashes among teens. There is no need to send a text on the short drive to school. Insist that your teen keep her phone in her backpack and that she not access it while she is driving.
As a parent, you have more power to keep your teen safe than anyone else. Enforce the rules you set for your teen driver consistently, especially at the start of the school year, and you may avoid that dreaded phone call telling you your child has been in an accident.
Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys Cares About Your Safety
The attorneys at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys see what can go wrong on Kansas City area roads every day. We want to keep you and your family safe. Read more blog posts or browse our article library any time for more driving safety tips.